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Dark Days #2

Posted: Monday, August 11, 2003
By: Cody Dolan



Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Ben Templesmith

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Plot:
Stella Olemaunís crusade to expose vampires to the world continues, and she receives some unexpected help along the way. Unfortunately, sheí managed to anger the undead, and they begin to plot against her.

Comments:
Thereís no two ways about it, vampires are cool and the vamps in this book are no exception. I like that Niles has stripped them of the conventions we normally associate with vampires and this adds a grounded feel to the book. Sure, sunlight can still kill these creatures, but so can bullets and explosives and that just makes sense. By taking away a few of the more supernatural aspects, Niles has made them a bit more human and, by extension, scarier. By removing the mystical aspects of the vampires Niles has created a group of people that are more like us, and the idea that normal people could do and say the atrocious things these vampires do is downright chilling.

Plot wise this series is moving relatively slowly, and rather than appreciate the buildup I find Iím irritated that I have to wait to see what happens next. I realize thatís entirely my fault, but that doesnít really comfort me. I want to know why the FBI is watching Stella, and what was left in Barrow, Alaska that is so important. Other people probably savor the rising action, and it is well done, but I felt this issue was spread a bit too thin.

In addition to that, Iím not sure I buy everything in this issue. The police show up a little late in the firefight, and then theyíre going to let Stella and her gun toting crew to walk away scot-free? During said fight, it looks like Stella gets her chest ripped open, but a page later sheís up, about, and ready to blow the head off the vamp that attacked her. And why do we need a full page and a half to see a copy of Stellaís book delivered to the late Vicenteís lover? Do we need to know that vampires use Fed Ex?

I get that Templesmith is going for a creepy, dark, horror movie feel with his art, but I find that the clarity he has to sacrifice to get that is a little too much for me to handle. Heís certainly skilled at the style heís chosen, but there are too many times when I cantí tell whatís going on for me to rate this book any higher (just what the hell is going on in the second panel of the first page?). This would bother me less if Templesmith didnít show us every now and then that heís capable of some gorgeous work.

Final Word:
Fans of 30 Days of Night should be pleasantly surprised with this issue as it carries over plot elements from the previous mini while introducing the promise of big action scenes much earlier. If you missed that series, you really wonít miss a beat as the creators keep this book new reader friendly. In any case, I canít wait for the continued adventures of Stella the Vampire Slayer and her own gang of violent Scoobies.



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